The Belle was built in 1684 at the royal shipyard at Rochefort on the southwest coast of France. State-of-the-art in the 17th century, Rochefort's shipyard served as a center for the artisans and craftsmen who produced all that was needed to equip and provision ships supplying New World expeditions and the colonies they established.

Rochefort Detail of a painting of Rochefort port, which Joseph Vernet painted about the time the Belle was built.

Image: Musee De La Marine, Paris